Katie Cardon, a former space pioneer, found her life shattered when she moved to Utah. Before making the move, she was successful in everything she set out to accomplish from building rocket ships, taking part of space launches, and even consulting on a blockbuster film starring Brad Pitt.
Every ten years, NASA conducts a survey for mission ideas. Katie was responsible for implementing those ideas. An example? The LUCY. More examples? Mars 2020, ORION, OSIRIS-REx. “Once you’ve been to a launch of your spacecraft… and seen the inspiration that it can illicit in others, it’s kind of like crack,” Katie tells me. And, her previous addiction and passion for it was tres obvious.
Now, I say previous, because Katie currently works as a Senior Project Manager for Cricut! That’s right, Buzz Lightyear! We brought former spacewoman, Katie Cardon, on to help pilot this rocket ship we call Cricut. Though, I’ll be honest, it took a number of right combinations to get her on board.
Katie’s husband, Garrett, was offered his dream job in Utah. Since Katie couldn’t be the obstacle to that dream, she and her family moved here. As a speaker at a recent Women Tech Council event, Katie explained that, “My career vase dropped, shattered, but I picked up the pieces and made something beautiful.” Several hundred women (and many men, as well) gathered in a room to hear Katie describe how she decided to be the pilot, and not the passenger in her ween off (space) crack.
“I learned about this Japanese art form called kintsugi, where anytime a piece of pottery is broken, in an effort to be frugal and to save the thing that is special, they actually glue [it] back together with gold adhesive,” Katie explained to me as she went on to describe the broken beauty mended with gold ribbons as her career.
Katie’s career in the aerospace industry “used to be this one thing that was looking really pretty, and… functional, and really great.” She started as a summer intern at Ball Aerospace and over the years moved into a senior position at Lockheed Martin. Then, as she moved to Utah, the commute to the majority of aerospace companies in the area were a commitment that she wasn’t prepared to tackle. You see, the long commute to and from those companies took away time that she had with her two boys. So, “instead of viewing it as a disaster of something broken, I’m putting it back together into something I know will be more valuable.” That’s us!
As a “bolt-turner,” Katie loves the process of “coming up with an idea and seeing it in physical space.” She loves Cricut for facilitating the maker and creator in her. Craft stores were her happy place growing up.
We continued to talk about how Katie enjoys building and tinkering – one of the reasons she’s such a successful engineer, I imagine. And, how it was difficult as a woman in a field dominated by men. “When I started in engineering school, I was one of very few women in any of my class… I felt totally out of place.” But now, she’s found her place. At least, we’d like to hope so.
It’s only been a little more than six months since Katie started at Cricut, but she’s so much an inspiration. I was in awe of her professional background and convinced she’d lead a movement in change I’d so blindly follow because of quotes like this one –
“I see our tools and our world, not just [for] crafting and hobbyists, but as a way to empower people, to make things, and to stay creative.”
Everyone, join us. A movement is imminent. And Katie, I’m ready for us to take on the world together as part of Cricut. Call me!